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State of the Cosmetics Industry, Part II

By: Rachel L. Chapman
Posted: September 25, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
five tubes of lipstick

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Wellness/health. The personal care industry has put some effort into formulating products focused on inducing feelings of happiness and well-being. In fact, at in-cosmetics in April 2007, one show segment, titled “in-focus Aphrodisia,” highlighted a talk about natural aphrodisiacs, grouping them into three major categories: urinary tract irritants, rubefacients that stimulate blood flow and odorous materials that have a psychosomatic effect on the senses. Another study looked at receptors for each of the five senses, which correspond to nerve endings that transmit electrical signals to the brain. These messages, according to their combinations and intensity, can be translated into pain or pleasure. This study showed how to model in vitro cutaneous perceptions and the potential to modulate the level of response, separating pain from pleasure.

In other research, models have been developed to measure wellness effects, such as one approach based on psycho-physiological measurements of test subjects to determine their reactions to various textile samples.

Nutricosmetics. Nutraceuticals have found their way to personal care consumers with the much-touted “beauty from within” concept. This has definitely stepped beyond the bounds of traditional makeup, coining the term “nutricosmetic.” Major cosmetic manufacturers have already begun to add nutritional supplements to daily skin care regimens.

Research has been conducted to determine the effects of materials, such as evening primrose oil and macroalgal fucoidan extracts as supplemental beauty care. The challenge of testing the effects of nutritional supplements on outward appearance is that the materials travel through an entire biological system, making claims substantiation next to impossible.

Actives. When Albert Kligman, MD, PhD, used the term “cosmeceutical” in the early 1980s, he not only modernized the language of cosmetics, but also he made an interesting declaration—makeup had evolved beyond just adding moisture or pigment to the skin. Reminded by the FDA that claims on a label determine whether a product is a cosmetic or drug, the industry forged ahead with ingredients designed to activate mechanisms in the skin. Actives emerged and continue to find new applications in personal care. Ingredient applications range from cellulite treatments to anti-aging serums, lip-plumping products, self-tanners, microcirculation stimulators and wellness-promoting products.